(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE BROADENING OF HUMANISM         221

soul, it behoves you to serve, love and fear God, to put all your
thoughts and all your hopes in Him, and to cleave to Him by faith
formed in charity."

Rabelais was little concerned about the adaptation of his ideas
to the requirements of practice, and his direct influence on edu-
cational work was probably small. Peter Ramus (1515-1572), on
the other hand, with the same objection to medieval methods and
a similar desire for width of intellectual interests, spent his life,
not unsuccessfully, in the attempt to deliver higher education from
its bondage to medieval tradition. The son of a farm labourer
in Picardy, he went to Paris University at the age of twelve as the
personal servant of a rich student. The turning-point of his life
was his attendance at the lectures in which John Sturm, at that
time a Master in one of the university colleges, combined the
study of literature (" eloquence") and philosophy. In comparison
with these lectures all the other work of the university seemed to
Ramus a futile logomachy which in its indifference to facts led to
nothing useful. Generalizing his criticism of the universal
practice of syllogistic disputation, he began his career as a teacher
at the age of twenty-one by maintaining at his Masters examina-
tion the startling thesis that " Everything that Aristotle has said
is false." As a matter of fact, what he was really challenging was
not Aristotle's doctrines—on which he himself depended far more
than he knew—but the whole spirit and method of university
teaching. Most of all he resented the uncritical appeal to authority.
He did not want to be a blind follower of great masters like Aristotle
or Cicero or Quintilian. He wanted, for himself and for others, the
right to think with freedom. The two books in which he developed
his attack on Aristotle, The Institutes of Dialectic and Animad-
versions on Aristotle, were condemned by royal decree, and he was
forbidden to teach philosophy. But the check on his activities
was only temporary. With the advent of a new king, influential
friends succeeded in getting a Chair of Eloquence and Philosophy
created for his special benefit in the Royal College of France out-
side the university jurisdiction, and there he was able to work
out and promulgate his revolutionary views without serious
hindrance.

The guiding principle of his constructive policy was utility:
he was, as his opponents said, a utilitarian (usiiarius). He aimed
at making all knowledge issue in practice. For him the subjects